20 Cheap Dinner Recipe Ideas

Food costs are often a barrier to eating well at home, so here are some cheap dinner recipe ideas that are perfect if you find yourself short on cash. It’s not hard to eat well on a budget, if you get the right ingredients!

Many people are struggling with grocery bills right now, but this is not a new problem. Trying to eat well on a budget can feel challenging, so I hope this list helps give you some fresh ideas.

Here, you’ll find recipes that are under $2.50 a serving (less than $10 for a recipe that serves four). These are complete and balanced dinner recipes – those that include protein, and/or healthy carbs and veggies. So often, I find recommendations for inexpensive recipes that don’t include protein – for example, only noodles with a light sauce – or are only one part of a meal like chicken thighs, not including a side. These ideas are full dinner ideas, with all the nutrition you need to have you feeling full and satisfied!

All of these recipes use inexpensive ingredients, though external links may not account for current prices (June 2022 at time of posting). Costs for these are calculated using my best estimate based on typical grocery store prices, or calculated by the website from which they are shared.

Some prices may vary depending on your location, where you shop, the quality of products you purchase, or if produce is in season and/or grown locally. Here’s a great resource from Beth over at Budget Bytes on how to calculate a recipe cost based on your own grocery store prices! (You’ll also find a few of her reader favorite recipes included in this list!)

Photo collage for cheap easy hearty dinner ideas for a budget.

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